Rugby

Paddy Wallace: Ulster Fans Deserve A Better Explanation For Sacking Of Jackson And Olding

Paddy Wallace: Ulster Fans Deserve A Better Explanation For Sacking Of Jackson And Olding

Former Ireland and Ulster player Paddy Wallace has stated the province's fans deserve a full and frank explanation of the reasons behind the sacking of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

At Belfast crown court last month, Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were unanimously acquitted of rape at Jackson's house in June 2016.

The two players were released from their contracts following a joint-review into their conduct by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU.

In a joint statement on Saturday, the two bodies highlighted their core values - "Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity" - as part of their reasoning for the decision, although no specific reason was given.

Wallace believes the "vague statement" is not a good cutting mustard with suporters, who are considering protests at the province's next match, and a fuller explanation is needed.

Speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio 1 today, Wallace agreed that Ulster Rugby were left with little choice but to part ways with the pair, but thinks that a better explanation is required.

The decision itself was probably the decision that had to be made given the public pressure that was mounting and also the sponsorship issue.

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There is a sense among the fans that they have been left in the dark a bit. Quite a vague statement has been brought out and, just gauging the temperature of the Supporters Club, they feel they need a bit more information as to how they came to that decision.

I have my own views on that obviously but I think someone in Ulster Rugby has to come out and make that very clear.

Wallace believes there was "no decision to be made" as Jackson and Olding did not meet the code of conduct required of professional players, and is also of the opinion that it's the best outcome for the squad as they head into an important stage of the season.

It's an opportunity to rebuild itself as a brand after the last few months and also for the players to move on and start again, because Belfast and Ulster is a goldfish bowl. If they were to return at Kingspan, it would be very difficult for the players themselves and the Ulster team to survive that, so it's probably best that they go elsewhere to ply their trade.

Wallace was keen to reiterate the fans' point of view, who have been left frustrated by the whole saga.

The vast majority in official Supporters' Clubs are very disappointed.

I think that's because they are fans of the game. They probably feel that these guys have been acquitted and they are being judged on their text messages which were obviously completely out of order and that is the core issue here.

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That is why they are moving on, they didn't meet the code of conduct Irish and Ulster players are held to.

I think the supporters, because they want to see Ulster being successful on the pitch, are sad to see the two players moving on.

Wallace added that the pair won't "be short of offers either", although Exeter Chiefs have dismissed rumours that they are considering a move for Olding. Jackson, on the other hand, could be playing his rugby in France next season.

It is also believed that both players were compensated upon their departure for an amount close to the value of their contracts and that no disciplinary process actually took place.

 

Ste McGovern
Article written by
A man and his cans. @nostalgiaultra5

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